A lot of people in the United States are using Google Voice service. However, Google was hoping for a global success of call forwarding and texting application on the larger scale when it was acquiring Grand Central with the aim to build Google Voice. Now, rumors have surfaced that the company has serious plans to phase out Voice altogether, in order to replace it by Google Hangouts completely, and let Google Hangouts deliver the same services as Google Voice.
9to5 Google reports that trusted sources suggest Google is having plans for a Google Hangouts to absorb Google Voice several months from now.
According to that scenario, users with existing Voice numbers would still be able to place phone calls and send text messages through it, but the action will take place in the Hangouts application, which is also expected to deliver VoIP calling feature that would be further integrated into the application for iOS and Android.
We have seen signs of the coming Google Voice phasing out for quite a while now, and the possibility has become apparent when the company merged Google Plus Messenger and the default messaging client into the Hangouts app last year. Eventually, Google introduced phone calls for the Hangouts application on iOS devices, and promised to deliver the same for Android devices at some point. Truth be told, Google Voice for iOS is terrible and it has not received any updates since last September, while the last update was nothing more than a bug fix. For iOS users Google Voice app still remains obsolete and terrible in usage while Hangouts for iOS has been receiving several updates that included a major revamp and changed the interface of the app.
If Google is indeed planning to shut down Voice, we anticipate users who have used Google Voice to port their numbers, or those who use Google Voice as their primary number would be able to continue using them to communicate. These rumors do not suggest how the company is going to handle number integration or call forwarding that is currently in use by Sprint customers in Google Voice. One way or another, we are unlikely to see these changes come in the next few months, so Google tech wizards have plenty of time to sort these issues out, or even change their mind and let Hangouts and Voice co-exist as separate applications. Nevertheless, Larry Page is a pro-consolidation guy, and in this light, the rumors seem quite viable.